Akhmat: Gorodov, Utsiev, Semenov, Angel, Nizic, Glushakov (Mikhalak, 71), Roshi (Berisha, 46), Shets, Ismael, Kharin, Mitrishev (Mbeng, 46).
Our team prepared for this game in Switzerland. After the European match against Thun Oleg Kononov’s side stayed behind in the Alps to train and arrived in Grozny on the eve of the game. The matches versus Akhmat always prove to be a test of character, one which the team passed with flying colours this time, getting a much needed away win.
Two of our players made their debuts against Akhmat: Jordan Larsson and Gus Til. The Swede started on the right wing, while the Gus took up the central midfield position. Both only had a couple of training sessions with their new teammates in Switzerland, so it’s premature to talk about them settling in fully. Schurrle started up front in place of Ponce, who’s serving his suspension. Bakaev took up the position on the left wing.
The first half hour was a battle for territory more than anything. Both teams enjoyed spells of dominance, but that didn’t result in many dangerous moments. Glushakov had the first sight of goal, but missed the target, while Til’s header was straight at Gorodov.
On the half hour teams exchanged chances. Akhmat could have gone ahead after Kharin’s low cross was cleared for a corner by Ayrton. We sprung a counter immediately after, Til and Schurrle combined to set up Bakaev and Zelimkhan took his chance from the one-on-one.
Akhmat’s defender Semenov went close from a set-piece situation soon after. And just before the break we doubled the lead. Til’s pressing resulted in a recovery near the opposition’s box and his pass allowed Bakaev to get a brace from 16 yards out. This was goal number four for our winger in just three days.
We picked up where we left off in the second half. Ayrton had another block up his sleeve, denying the lurking Mbeng, while Til’s shot from outside the box nearly found the top corner.
20 minutes from time we added another: Schurrle opened his goalscoring account for us, while Til provided another assist. The German found himself in a shooting position and his shot rippled the far corner’s net.
Schurrle could have had a brace himself, but missed by inches from a free-kick. Akhmat didn’t give up either, Mbeng pulling one back from close range. However the Senegalese was sent off for a bad foul on Dzhikia almost immediately, as it was his second bookable offence.
The latter stages of the game were quite emotional, however we managed to keep the scoreline intact. There was a notable occasion to mark though, as Lorenzo Melgarejo made his 100th appearance for the Club. Congratulations on the milestone, Lorenzo!